Collision cyclist too emotional, court told

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 16 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 16 June, 2012, 12:00am

Prosecutors yesterday accused a cycling activist of being too emotional in the moments before a car driven by a former top police official collided with his bike. The cyclist's lawyer argued it was unusual to charge a rider struck from behind.

The arguments came as Cycling Alliance chairman Martin Turner faced cross-examination in Kwun Tong Court during the second day of his trial on a charge of careless cycling stemming from the August 31 incident in Central.

The car, driven by former senior assistant police commissioner Spencer Foo Tsun-kong, struck the bike on Queensway after Turner, 50, overtook Foo's car and crossed into his lane.

Foo maintains that Turner darted in front of his vehicle and that he struck the bike at a 50 to 60 degree angle. Turner says he was struck directly from behind as he attempted to accelerate.

'I certainly did not cut across his car,' Turner said. 'I was firmly in the lane.'

In closing arguments, Turner's lawyer, Timothy Parker, called Foo's description of the impact angle 'implausible' and said it was abnormal to charge the lead rider in a 'crash from behind'.

'It's unusual to say the least that the person in the front is to be prosecuted,' Parker said.

But Christopher Grounds SC, for the government, said that Turner, who had moments earlier admonished Foo for passing too close to his bike, lost his cool.

'I suggest to you, you did get upset and were emotionally disturbed,' Grounds told Turner while the cyclist was on the stand. Grounds contended that Turner had been angered when Foo overtook him shortly before the crash, and had gestured and shouted at the car, actions that caused him to ride carelessly.

Turner admitted that he had wagged his finger at Foo 'as if to say that was naughty, that was wrong' and also shouted at him for passing too close as both men approached a red traffic light. Turner said he then accelerated, overtook Foo's car and turned back briefly to look at Foo.

'I was reacting to [Foo's] aggression, hooting his horn and driving too close,' said Turner, a marketing consultant who founded the Cycling Alliance in 2006. 'My intention was to make a momentary message and there was certainly an element of 'See, I'm faster than you'.'

But the cyclist rejected Grounds' characterisation of his emotional state. 'I was in no way disturbed from my attention to the road around me,' he said. 'I was totally in control. I was not emotionally upset.'

Special Magistrate Lau Suk-han adjourned the case until July 9, when she is expected to hand down her verdict.

The crash happened just before 7pm near the Bank of China building. The force of the impact pitched Turner onto the road, injuring his left arm and leg.

Police found him at fault for the crash, and Turner was charged with careless cycling and not having a bell on his bike. He pleaded guilty to the bell charge.


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